Juris Zarins
Juris Zarins (b. Germany 1945) is an American-Latvian archaeologist and professor at Missouri State University
Missouri State University
Missouri State University is a public university located in Springfield, Missouri, United States and founded in 1905. It is the state's second largest university, with an official enrollment of 20,802 in fall 2011...

, who specializes in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...


Dr. Zarins is ethnically Latvian, but was born in Germany at the end of the Second World War. His parents emigrated to the United States soon after he was born. He graduated from high school in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1963 and earned a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Nebraska in 1967. He served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam before completing his Ph.D. in Ancient Near Eastern Languages and Archaeology at the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 in 1974. He then served as archaeological adviser to the Department of Antiquities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 before coming to Missouri State in 1978.

Dr. Zarins has extensive experience in archaeological fieldwork in Saudi Arabia, Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, and Oman
Oman , officially called the Sultanate of Oman , is an Arab state in southwest Asia on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, and Yemen to the southwest. The coast is formed by the Arabian Sea on the...

, and is now involved in a new project in Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

. He was chief archaeologist for the Transarabia Expedition which made the famous discovery of the ancient city of Ubar in 1992. This made the headline of the New York Times, and it was also named one of the ten most important discoveries of the year by Discover, Time, and Newsweek magazines. The expedition was featured in a NOVA program called "In Search of the Lost City," which was first broadcast in 1996.

Dr. Zarins has published many articles on a number of topics concerning the archaeology of the Near East, which include the domestication of the horse, early pastoral nomadism, and the obsidian, indigo, and frankincense trades. He received an Excellence in Research Award from Missouri State in 1988. He has proposed that the Semitic languages arose as a result of a circum Arabian nomadic pastoral complex, which developed in the period of the desiccation of climates at the end of the pre-pottery phase in the Ancient Near East.

Dr. Zarins claims that the Garden of Eden
Garden of Eden
The Garden of Eden is in the Bible's Book of Genesis as being the place where the first man, Adam, and his wife, Eve, lived after they were created by God. Literally, the Bible speaks about a garden in Eden...

 was situated at the head of the Persian Gulf, where the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers run into the sea, from his research on this area using information from many different sources, including LANDSAT images from space. In this theory, the Bible’s Gihon River
Gihon is the name of the second river mentioned in the second chapter of the biblical Book of Genesis. The Gihon is mentioned as one of four rivers issuing out of the Garden of Eden that branched from a single river within the garden. The name may be interpreted as "Bursting Forth, Gushing"...

 would correspond with the Karun River in Iran, and the Pishon River
The Pishon is one of four rivers mentioned in the Biblical Genesis. In that passage, these rivers are described as arising within the Garden of Eden...

would correspond to the Wadi Batin river system that once drained the now dry, but once quite fertile central part of the Arabian Peninsula. His theory is supported by C. A. Schlabach, but strongly criticized by the rest of the archaeological community.

External links

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